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Customer research

one-on-one and in-depth

  • It’s the best way to discover why customers do what they do.

  • Understand the behaviour and motivation of your customers, staff and stakeholders.

  • Use storytelling to uncover things you did not even know to ask.

  • Make sure you are solving the right problem in the right way.

  • We offer in-depth interviews (IDI), shadowing, diary studies, and location spot-checks.  

You can’t do customer-centred design without engaging customers. It’s in the name, after all! Any business plan, project plan, customer segmentation, or anything else that gets created in the building is a hypothesis. The only way to know if your hypothesis is true or not is to validate it with customers.

There are no facts inside the building. The facts exist outside the building. Get out of the building.

Steve Blank
In his book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Startups That Win.

We have found the best way to discover why your customers are behaving a certain way or what motivates, them is through one-on-one qualitative sessions. Quantitative data like analytics or surveys will tell you what they are doing, but the only way to really understand why is through longer more detailed conversations. 

We spend time working with customers in their own environments – conducting interviews, taking pictures, or just hanging out with them in an effort to understand the complexity of their behaviour. We take note of nuances in their daily tasks to uncover possible problem areas they might not even know exist. Watching what real customers do in their environment is the most rewarding form of research. This is called shadowing, or contextual research.


In-depth interviews research

In cases where we’re not able to spend time with users in situ, we can still get their input through in-depth interviews, diary studies. Similar to a usability test, an in-depth interview seeks to understand user experience. Working within the system they work or live, in-depth interviews uncover their habits, issues and behaviours so when it comes to solving issues, we can focus on the right ones and tackle them in the best way.

A diary study runs over a few days and requires respondents to fill in a diary with tasks every day. For example, participants might note their experience every time they go to a petrol station or Google something on the internet. Diary studies help us tailor our in-depth interviews with the respondents after the study and provide a great base to explore users’ experiences.

Depending on what you are trying to uncover, the access you have to your customers, and your timeline, we can create a research study that works for you.

Diary Study

How we measure findings 

Good thing

This is something that a customer will enjoy or complete easily.


Causes confusion and doubt. Some of these are inevitable, but enough of these can cause "death by a thousand paper cuts".


Slows down the task and causes some irritation. These will reduce trust and credibility and if this happens a few times, customers will probably give up.


These issues will obstruct a process completely and will stop a customer from completing the task. These will also reduce repeat usage.

How it works 

We will…

Kick-off the project

We start with a kick-off session with you to determine what needs to be covered in the research and what big problem statements do you want to cover, for example, “How do customers feel about the new ticketing queue system?” or “What’s stopping customers from coming back after there first visit?”

We also need to define who we will be recruiting for the day. We use two types of dimensions to help create a recruit brief: demographic dimensions (age, income, location…) and behavioural dimensions (tech adverse, relies on social proof, currently looking for life cover…).

If we are running a diary study we will plan a timeline and discuss the logistics. 


Recruit respondents

Finding the right people to interview is vital so we use a team of the best recruiters in South Africa, Europe and the USA. We create a carefully designed screener based on your brief to ensure that respondents meet your target market criteria. We also recruit one extra in case there are any last-minute cancellations.

Create the script

Based on your problem statement, we will formulate the best way to gather the findings. Knowing what types of questions to ask, and when to ask them, comes from a familiarity with research theory and years of experience.

We will share with you before the interviews to get your input.

Get the recruits setup

If we are doing remote interviews, we make sure they have access to the internet and have a phone or laptop with a good mic and camera. With remote sessions, we rely heavily on video calls so, before the sessions, we will test their internet and buy them data if needed.

Run the interivews

We usually interview 5 customers a day in 45 minutes to 1-hour sessions. Remote research has it’s technical issues, so we will record all the videos, slightly edit them and play them back to you the next day or in the workshop as if they were live. You are also able to watch them live on the day if you wish.

Present the findings

There are two ways we can process and present the findings after the interviews: 

A formal debrief document laying out all the points of pain and themes uncovered during testing. Paired with videos featuring the most impactful segments, this document highlights the most important findings for which, we create precise, actionable recommendations for both the short and long term.

This option is recommended for involving stakeholders who weren’t able to watch the interviews, or if you’re not in a position to make immediate changes and need a record of the findings.

A workshop run immediately after the interviews have finished, or the following day. Working with the project team, we focus on the most pressing issues, coming up with quick wins to better the customer experience. This option has a much faster turnaround time and closer involvement with your team.

remote user testing
All of our customer research sessions are remote at the moment.

Find out what your customers really think

and find out why!
Contact us